Every Friday and Saturday night, eager Southsiders break the well-established ‘Yarra Divide’ rule and travel to Fitzroy for a beer.
But while their intrepid sense of adventure will mean they get to experience some wildly exotic locations (such as the Old Bar and Yah Yahs), what they never do is continue the journey past Alexandra Parade. Because despite its close proximity, Fitzroy North is just too damn far to travel if you’re a St Kilda denizen with a hankering for whiskey and dry.
And that suits the locals just fine.
Kieran Yewdall manages the Pinnacle Hotel, a Northside pub on St Georges Road that’s shaped like a slice of Aussie meat pie. Originally a Southsider, he’s been hanging in the ‘Roy since 1998 and now refuses to return to the dark side.
“People talk to each other around here. That’s the difference” he says. “A friend of mine moved north recently and is already on talking terms with all her neighbours. Before that, she lived out east for 25 years and knew no-one. I blame off-street parking”
The regulars at the Pinny have no trouble talking to each other. Look around the beer garden on any given evening and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone not deep in conversation.
“We’re just a hodge podge of odd and interesting people,” reckons Yewdall. “Students, old guys, artists, hipsters, punks, students, teachers, families, tradies... we’ve got the best ‘colourful types’ anywhere in Melbourne. I once met a guy who claimed to have invented baubles. I kid you not, baubles. He was absolutely convinced.”